Women in Business Urged on Perseverance as MTN Awards Outstanding Entrepreneurs

As the ‘Women’s month’ of March comes to a close, information pills MTN Uganda hosted the 5th annual Women in Business awards that marked the end of the two month long search for those women who have excelled in their enterprises through the use of tools and opportunities available to them.

Under the 2017 theme: Survival of the fittest: Partnering for success, these awards celebrate the achievements of Ugandan women entrepreneurs who against all odds continue to excel in the predominantly male dominated field of business.

The awards hosted on Friday 17th March 2017 by Ms. Lois Aber at the Kampala Serena Hotel were not short on inspiration. Among the highlights of the night was a stimulating panel discussion, and a key note speech delivered by Ms. Phuti Mahanyele – Executive Chairperson, Sigma Capital and an accomplished female business leader in South Africa and across the globe.

In an address that emphasized perseverance, Ms. Mahanyele also spoke of the need to nurture relationships with family, because “they are the ones who stay with you when challenges, personal or otherwise, set in”. She encouraged women entrepreneurs to seek out and engage with potential partners internationally because international partners continue to seek out good investment ideas from across globe.

The panel discussion moderated by Mrs. Jackie Namara Rukare an accomplished marketing and communications professional, featured a cast of accomplished women leaders across a number of industries who offered personal perspectives on how women can, through partnerships, survive male dominated business fields and at times of economic turbulence for business.

Dr. Barbara Ofwono Buyondo, a senior educationist and proprietor of Victorious Education Services emphasized the importance of having well intentioned and qualified people around you, which is the board, that advise and offer direction of how the business should be governed. She spoke of the need for faith and God to lean on in both good and challenging times.

MTN CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte shares a light moment with former Finance Minister, Maria Kiwanuka

MTN CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte shares a light moment with former Finance Minister, Maria Kiwanuka

Mrs. Elizabeth Ntege, the co-founder and director of NFT Consult Group of Companies said not only is it important to sustain good relationships with clients but that it is equally vital to build relations with those stake holders that are imposed and unavoidable like tax authorities. She spoke of the need to earn referrals for ones business by always delivering a good service.

Another panelist Ms. Caroline Mboijana who is the Managing Director of The Leadership Team (TLT) Uganda reiterated the importance of partnerships while Mrs. Juliet Kakaayi Nsubuga, the Senior Manager, Consumer Sales & Planning MTN Uganda spoke of the need for female entrepreneurs to professionalize their businesses and the role of corporate companies like MTN in supporting young business through programs like the MTN Women in Business.

The highlight of the night was the actual awards to winners selected from a pool of nominees in four categories; MTN Women in Business Excellence in ICT Award, MTN Women in Business Excellence in Financial Services Award, MTN Women in Business: People’s Choice (Survivor of the Year), MTN Women in Business: CEO Of The Year, MTN Women in Business: MTN Staff Woman Champion

MTN Business together with partners gave an assortment of prizes and recognition certificates to all nominees. The nominees were selected from a pool of women managed enterprises that are serviced by MTN Business while those in the People’s Choice (Survivor of the Year) category were chosen from New Vision/Bukedde’s entrepreneurship programs and the final five selected through a popular public vote. This year, the awards also featured an MTN Staff Woman Champion category comprising of ladies working with MTN but impacting their communities through entrepreneurship.

The winners were selected by a panel of distinguished judges who are industry captains in their respective fields of business. They included;

Jennifer Mwijukye – The Chief Executive Officer and founder of Unifreight Group

Rita Balaka – A member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA, UK) and currently Head of Compliance – Stanbic Bank Uganda.

Dr. Margaret Blick Kigozi – Is a Ugandan medical doctor, business consultant, educator and sportswoman

Yewagnesh Mamo  Biriggwa (Yogi) – Country Manager, South African Airways

Sophia Mukasa – Is the Senior Manager – Enterprise Marketing at MTN Business Uganda.

Multitudes in attendance at the gala.

Multitudes in attendance at the gala.

Speaking on behalf of the judges, Dr. Kigozi detailed the criteria used to select the winners, emphasizing the need for women business owners to work towards having in place systems and processes that work to support the growth of their businesses.

The guest of honour for the evening, Hon. Maria Kiwanuka thanked MTN for the support it’s extending to communities and to that of women in particular. She offered advice to those engaged in business to “stand up for your rights. Pay your taxes but also follow up government programs and demand for accountability of how the tax funds are appropriated.”

On her part, the Chief Marketing Officer MTN Uganda, Mrs. Mapula Bodibe thanked women and other stakeholders who gave of their time to implement the 5th edition of what is now the most recognizable platform celebrating upcoming and successful women entrepreneurs in Uganda.  “I congratulate Uganda’s women and continue to be inspired by what you’ve achieved in your various capacities as mothers, wives and most significantly as industry captains”, she said.

Using the example of his wife Barbara, the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Uganda Mr. Wim Vanhelleputte paid glowing tribute to women business owners, who continue to prevail despite the fact that they “bear the responsibility of being wives and mothers at home, coupled with running their enterprises in an environment in which they have to endlessly prove to everyone that their products are good despite being Ugandan and produced by the female gender”.

“They (women) ought to be respected”, he concluded.


MTN Staff Woman Champion – Donna Namujju Kaddu Mukasa – Capital Projects, MTN Uganda (Co director at Lincoln Medical Limited.

Excellence in ICT Award – Eugenie Nsubuga Windt of Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Excellence in Financial Services Award – Lydia Oile – le Memorial Hospital, Lawsam Chemicals, Tausi Décor

People’s Choice (Survivor of the Year) – Sarah Nkonge – Teacher, Politician, Farmer & Business woman

CEO of the Year – Amelia Kisakye Kyambadde – Seroma Christian High School


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